San Francisco 49ers running back Elijah Mitchell is dealing with a hamstring injury that will likely prevent him from taking the field during the preseason, per ESPN's Adam Schefter.
However, Mitchell is expected to be ready for the start of the regular season when the Niners take on the Chicago Bears on Sept. 11 at Soldier Field.
Mitchell is coming off an impressive rookie season in which he rushed for 963 yards and five touchdowns in 11 games. He also caught 19 passes for 137 yards and one score.
However, the 2021 sixth-round pick was in and out of the lineup while nursing a combination of knee, shoulder, head and rib injuries, in addition to a fractured finger. He did not participate in drills during OTAs in order to heal.
Mitchell returned to drills about two weeks ago, and 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters that the team would ease him back into things.
"He has looked good," Shanahan said. "He had a tough offseason just going back from injuries. He didn't get to do much in OTAs. It was great to get him out there these first three days. He is easing his way back into it. Just glad he's getting back to health."
If Mitchell is unable to play come Week 1, San Francisco has a number of talented running backs to turn to in Jeff Wilson, Trey Sermon, Tyrion Davis-Price and JaMycal Hasty.
Like Mitchell, Sermon was a rookie in 2021. The 49ers selected him in the third round out of Ohio State. However, he appeared in just nine games because of injury, rushing for only 167 yards and one touchdown.
Wilson, meanwhile, has been in San Francisco since 2018. He appeared in nine contests last season, rushing for 294 yards and two touchdowns.
Davis-Price was selected by the 49ers in the third round of the 2022 draft out of LSU. He rushed for 1,003 yards and six touchdowns in 12 games with the Tigers during his 2021 junior season.
While losing Mitchell for any amount of time wouldn't be ideal, the Niners do have a plethora of options at the position.